Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Can pure-play mobile VoIP succeed?

Two recent announcements regarding pure-play mobile VoIP offerings from TCM Mobile and xG Technologies caught my eye, and I decided to talk to the companies to find out about their plans to make these technologies commercially viable.

TCM Mobile launched a mobile VoIP test network in Syracuse, N.Y., after more than four years of development. TCM plans to operate in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz spectrum band to avoid the costs of buying spectrum, as Verizon, AT&T and others have done. The company, founded by a group of Israeli engineers and scientists, said it cracked interference, roaming and connectivity problems in development and built all components of the network, from handsets to base stations, in-house. It plans to operate the mobile voice network over an IP backbone to reduce costs further.

But, as Carl Weinshenk at IT Business Edge points out, despite innovative technology, TCM will face tough competition making its solution work in the market.

Weinshenk writes, “The problem facing TCM, no matter what the elegance of their technology and efficiency of their execution, is that they are in a competitive space in which many powerful players already have made significant investments and chosen their dance partners.”

TCM President Haim Yashar told me the company does not have consumer plans or a business model yet, and that TCM is “a tech company at the end of the day.” Given the competition Weinshenk aptly notes, TCM has its work cut out for it to achieve any sort of market penetration. Read More Can pure-play mobile VoIP succeed?

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